SOP 01


The storage and handling of petrol comes under “The Petroleum (Consolidation) Regulations 2014 (PRC), which came into force on 1st October 2014, and affects Peterborough Sailability (PS) as a ‘non-workplace premises storing petrol’ e.g. Private homes, clubs, associations etc.  To meet these requirements, the following guidance specific for Peterborough Sailability shall be adhered to, and read in conjunction with the full regulations:

Portable Petrol Storage Containers

The general principles for the design and manufacturer of portable petrol storage containers require that they must;
  • Have a nominal capacity; no greater than 10 litres if made of plastic, and no greater than 20 litres if made of metal
  • Have a total capacity between 10% and 15% more than the nominal capacity
  • Be made of either metal or plastic that is suitable and safe for the purpose and will not significantly degrade due to exposure to petrol or naturally occurring ultraviolet radiation.
  • Be designed and constructed so that; they are reasonably robust and not liable to break under the normal conditions of use. The escape of liquid or vapour is prevented.  Petrol can be safely poured from them.  They are not unsteady when placed on a flat surface.
  • Be marked with the words ‘Petrol’ and ‘Highly Flammable’. An appropriate hazard warning sign.  The nominal capacity in litres.  The manufacturer’s name and the date and month of manufacture.

Beware the Perils of Petrol

Users are reminded of the dangers associated with petrol and refuelling in particular;
  • If spilt or exposed to air, petrol evaporates quickly producing vapour which is highly flammable and therefore easily ignited by any spark, cigarette etc. A small spill will still produce a large amount of vapour.  When refuelling, petrol vapour is displaced by the petrol being delivered into the tank.
  • As petrol vapour is three to four times heavier than air it will sink, settling in the lowest place such as bilges, lockers and other enclosed spaces.
  • Before starting out, use sight, touch and sense of smell to check the fuel system and engine for any fuel leaks or weeping fuel and signs of deterioration, looseness, cracks or any other damage
  • Crucially do not switch on the electrical system or turn on the ignition key if there’s a strong smell of petrol, ventilate the bilges and enclosed spaces and investigate the source.
  • Avoid refuelling any portable engine or tank aboard the boat; take it off the boat to the shore and a safe distance from other boats and any other sources of ignition.
  • Never use any bowl, bucket or other open container to carry or transfer petrol.

Contd. Beware the Perils of Petrol

  • Don’t overfill petrol containers, leave some expansion space. Stow them securely upright and protected from other boats and any other sources of ignition.
  • Avoid decanting petrol from containers, but if you have to, use proprietary anti-spill containers, spouts, or nozzles to allow, clean and easy, no-spill refuelling
  • Petrol leaks and spills can readily vaporise in an instant. Clean up any fuel spills straight away and make sure filler caps are secure after refuelling.

Procedure for Spare Fuel

  • A spare portable plastic petrol container with 10 litre max nom. capacity is kept in the main storage container, together with a funnel. The petrol container is interchangeable with the portable petrol container on the safety boat.
  • Refuelling of the tow vehicle and the safety boat is the responsibility of the authorised drivers, and when the spare fuel container is empty, preferable to take to a local garage and refill, with not more than 10 litres of petrol, presenting the receipt to the office for payment.
  • In the event of the user not being able to take the container for re-filling, please advise the office that it is empty, to ensure that there is always sufficient fuel for the next day’s operations.
  • All personnel to be aware of the location of nearest fire extinguisher suitable for petrol fires

Procedure for refuelling Tow Vehicle

  • All authorised drivers of the Tow vehicle are responsible for checking and maintaining sufficient petrol is available for a normal day’s use. Preferably topping up the fuel tank at the start of the day before the vehicle gets hot.
  • Prior to topping up the fixed petrol tank; a) ensure the vehicle is parked in a safe open area, away from buildings, boats and people, b) The ignition is switched off, c) The vehicle’s engine and exhaust is ‘not hot’; which could ignite any spilt fuel, d) check the ‘reserve’ petrol switch is ‘off’.
  • A suitable funnel is used to transfer the petrol from the portable petrol container

Procedure for refuelling Safety Boat

  • Duty safety boat driver to check fuel at start and end of the day. If at the end of the day the tank is less than ½ full (notional) the tank is to be removed and left on the gunnel – indicating to whoever launches the safety boat next that they need to change the fuel tank.
  • All authorised drivers of the safety boat are responsible for checking and maintaining sufficient petrol is available for its use and for all routine safety checks on the fuel system.
  • When the spare portable petrol container has been refilled at the garage, this is to be exchanged directly onto the safety boat (both portable tanks and fittings are interchangeable) this will avoid any unnecessary decanting of petrol between tanks.

Procedure for refuelling Safety Boat.

  • In the event of the safety boat’s petrol tank requiring to be topped up, the tank must be removed from the boat to a safe open area on land (not on the pontoon), away from buildings, boats and people and a suitable funnel to be used to transfer the petrol from the portable petrol container.
  • No more than 30 litres is to be kept on board the boat at any time

Carrying Petrol in a Car

  • Excluding the petrol in your car’s fuel tank, the Petroleum (Consolidation) Regulations 2014 allow you to carry up to a maximum of 30 litres of petrol in a maximum of two suitable portable petrol containers
  • During transport of petrol in a car, the breather valve on top of the tank should be closed (preventing petrol fumes escaping from tank) being reopened when connected to outboard.
  • When filling up the portable container at the garage ensure only ‘unleaded petrol’ is used.

SOP 01 Petrol Storage & Safety Version 01 – dated 07 Mar 2023